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==== ==== If You Want to Improve Chess Check this out: www.ajedrezdesdematamoros.blogspot.

com ==== ==== The Chigorin Defense Against the London System [D02] The London System is undergoing a resurgence in popularity. From my experience, White aims for an iron grip on e5 and an attack on the kingside. The Chigorin Defense is an interesting option to get London players out of their comfort zone. In this column I will not cover an early c4 by White in much detail, since London players do not usually play it. Still, even then, Black gets a typical Chigorin position that turns into a fight of the black knights versus the white bishops. 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nc6 The idea of the Chigorin is to aim for active piece play. 2...Nc6 looks like a beginner's move because it blocks the c-pawn, which many players have learned is unfavorable in Queen's Pawn openings since the extra space gained by ...c5 is important. It is a tradeoff and an offbeat way to play. Grandmaster Alexander Morozevich, a huge proponent of this opening, believes that the Chigorin may not objectively be the best way to play, but that it is certainly acceptable and exciting. 2...c5 is the current popular choice. 3.Nf3 I am mainly interested in looking at this position. However, let's look at two other common moves that your opponents might play. 3.e3 This is the typical reaction to when Black plays ...c5. 3...Nf6 The Black bishop wants to go to g4, so Black develops and waits for White to play Nf3. (3...f6 tries to capitalize on the fact that Black has a knight on c6 exerting control over e5. But after 4.Bb5 Black will find it hard to develop.) 4.Bd3 Bg4 5.Nf3 e6 This is the main setup we want. Black is planning ...Bd6 next. 3.c3 This is a typical London System move to overprotect d4 against any Black attack on the center. However, it seems out of place here because Black has not played ...c5. 3...Bg4!? Although White has not yet played Nf3, Black develops the pieces as if he did. (3...f6 is interesting here, because White does not have the option of Bb5. 4.Nf3 g5 5.Bg3 g4 Black chases the knight from controlling e5. 6.Nfd2 e5 If I was playing the London System as white, I would be unhappy with this type of position. Black is the one with the e5square and will likely put a knight on f5, a bishop on d6 and f5, and maybe castle queenside.) 4.Nd2 e6 5.f3 Bf5 6.g4 White tries for an attack when he has no kingside development. 6...Bg6 7.h4 Bd6 Black still employs the ...Bd6 Purchases from our chess shop help keep ChessCafe.com freely accessible:

ECO D by Chess Informant Unusual Queen's Gambit Declined by Chris Ward ChessBase Tutorials #03 by ChessBase idea. 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9.Rh3 (Not 9.h5?? Qg3#) 9...h5 White has no attack and weak dark squares on the c1-h6 diagonal. Black went on to win in Brugali,NMunster, P/Westerlo 2004 (33). 3...Bg4 In the Chigorin, Black often exchanges both bishops for the white knights on f3 and c3. The point is to obtain quick development and strike fast in the center. Black now has indirect pressure on e5 as a result of the bishop on g4 threatening the f3-knight. 4.e3 This is a normal London System move, solidifying control over d4 and getting the f1-bishop out. 4.Ne5 If White tries to be aggressive in the center right away, this can only help Black who has an equal number of pieces out and, after the trade on e5, has the choice of moving the c-pawn anyway. 4...Nxe5 5.Bxe5 c6 This protects d5 and gives the Black queen a diagonal to play on. 6.c3 Nf6 7.f3 Bf5 8.Nd2 e6 9.e3 Be7 White's pawn setup leaves his pieces a bit cramped. Almost effortlessly Black gets an advantage. 10.Be2 Nd7 11.Bg3 (11.Bxg7 Rg8 and Black can take the g2-pawn next.) 11...0-0 12.e4 Bg6 13.0-0 Nf6 14. e5 Nh5 15.f4 Nxg3 16.hxg3 c5 Black has the bishop-pair and the light squares. 4.Nbd2 This happened in the high-level game Torre-Short, Brussels 1987 in which Black had all the fun and a big attack. 4...e6 5.c3 Bd6 6.e3 Bxf4 If White leaves the bishop on f4, Black should take it. 7.exf4 Qd6 The f-pawn has become a target. 8.Qb3 This is an active solution. It unpins the knight and attacks Black's b-pawn. 8...f6 Black does not want a knight on e5. 9.g3 (9. Qxb7 would be the logical continuation, which at least disrupts Black's play. 9...Rb8 10.Qa6 Rxb2 11.Bb5 Nge7 with an interesting game.) 9...0-0-0 10. Bg2 Nge7 11.0-0 h6 This is the prelude to a big attack. 12.Rfe1 g5 13.fxg5 hxg5 14.Nf1 Kb8 15.Qc2 Bf5 16.Qe2 Ng6 17.Ne3 Be4 Black ends up breaking through. 18.Nf1 g4 19.N3d2 f5 20.Nxe4 dxe4 21.Ne3 Qd7 22.Nf1 Rh6 23.Rad1 Rdh8 24.Qe3 Qh7 25.d5 Nce5 26.dxe6 Nf3+ 27. Bxf3 gxf3 28.Rd7 Rxh2 29.Rd8+ Rxd8 0-1. 4...e6 Black's plan depends on what happens after 5...Bd6. If White captures the bishop on d6, Black recaptures with the c-pawn and uses the open c-file to play on the queenside. Otherwise, Black usually captures the bishop on f4 (or g3 if it retreats) and plays in the center. 5.Be2 White develops and breaks the pin. 5.c4 This is where c4 would likely occur. We soon transpose into a more

common Chigorin position. A sample variation is 5...Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 Here comes the second bishop pinning the knight. 7.Rc1 0-0 Sooner or later Black will feel the Chigorin pull to exchange the bishops for the knights. The f6knight will go to e4. Black may play ...f6 or ...f5 as well. Magnus Carlsen recently played this type of position as black against Kramnik and got a draw despite being in a very precarious position. 5.Bd3 This move seems to have a timing problem. The d4-pawn does not have the support of c3 so Black can strike fast. 5...Bd6 6.Bg3 e5 Once the center is opened up the game is equal. 7.dxe5 Bxe5 8.c3 Nf6 9.Nbd2 Qe7 Black plans to castle queenside and Black has a nice pawn on d5 with no white equivalent. 5.c3 We will look at this setup with Nbd2/Bd3 in the first illustrative game. 5...Bd6 Here is our key move, putting the challenge to the f4-bishop. A very simple, effective plan that gets active pieces quickly and stumps White's normal London plans. 6.Bxd6 This seems most automatic. White can exchange the bishops, move to g3 or g5, or leave the bishop on f4. Let's look at all these choices. 6.Bg5 Moving the bishop avoids changing the pawn structure, but it wastes time. 6...f6 I like this move because it protects the queen by gaining a tempo. 7.Bh4 Nge7 8.0-0 Nf5 9.Bg3 Bxg3 In the Chigorin the game belongs to the knights, so Black preserves the knight on f5. 10.hxg3 Nd6 The knight will go to e4, while the c6-knight can loop around to e7-g6/f5. Black can castle kingside or queenside. If anything, Black is a little better. 6.c3 White is still trying to play routine London System moves and allows Black to capture on f4. 6...Bxf4 7.exf4 Qf6 As we saw in an earlier game, the f4-pawn becomes a weakness even though it controls e5. 8.g3 Now White's light squares are weak. 8...Bxf3!? This looks odd because the light-squares are weak. But Black trades off the light-squared bishop for two reasons: first, so the f3-knight cannot get to e5, and, second, with a weak color complexes, it is not only the squares that are weak but also the pawns on all dark squares can be attacked. Thus, ...h6 and ...g5 may come in the future. White's lightsquared bishop can do nothing to defend the pawns. (8...Nge7 9.Ne5 Bxe2 10. Qxe2 Qf5 11.Na3 0-0-0 This is probably just dead even.) 9.Bxf3 Nge7. 6.Bg3 As with 6.Bg5, this move is okay, but it loses time for White. 6...Bxg3 7.hxg3 Nf6 8.Nbd2 Qd6 Castling and activating his pieces is going to be awkward for White. 9.c4 I don't see much besides this move, which attempts to open lines for the white pieces. 9...dxc4 10.Nxc4 (10.Bxc4 The pin on the knight becomes annoying. 10...0-0 11.Qe2 e5 If Black can get this in safely, I am sure the game is at least equal.) 10...Qb4+ 11.Qd2 Bxf3 12.gxf3 0-0-0 This is a common Chigorin pawn structure where White has pawns on f2, f3, e3, and d4, and Black has a pawn on e6. I would say this position has equal chances for both players. 6...cxd6! Black recaptures this way to gain greater control over the center and open the c-file.

7.Nbd2 Another typical London System move to try to get to e5 via c4 or f3. Here that is not going to work since e5 is protected, so White is thinking about c4. 7...Nf6 The knight can also go to e7, but f6 is more typical and active. 8.0-0 White finishes development before undertaking anything radical. 8...0-0 Looking at the position it is easy to see that Black has three pawns in the center to White's two and more active pieces. 9.c4 White needs to open lines for the pieces. 9.c3 If White does not play c4, I am not sure what the plan is. 9...Rc8 10.h3 Bh5 11.Rc1 Qb6 Black is going to double rooks on the c-file and play on the queenside. 9...dxc4 Black doesn't have to capture right away, since if White plays cxd5, ...Nxd5 is the same structure, but there is no reason to wait. 10.Nxc4 The knight jumps to a more active position. 10...Rc8 Rooks belong on open files and might double. 11.h3 Putting the question to the bishop. 11...Bh5 11...Bxf3 is also possible to generate play quickly. 12.Bxf3 d5 13.Nd2 Qb6 Black already has the a-rook and the queen out while White is struggling to get started. 12.Nh4 It is tricky for White to get play. 12.Rc1 This looks natural but has a problem: 12...d5 13.Ncd2 (13.Nce5 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 White would like to do this, but it loses to ...Rxc1 and ...Bxe2.) 13... Qb6 Black is nice and active. 12...Bxe2 Black wastes no time and trades. 13.Qxe2 With White's knights all over the board, Black moves quickly and logically. 13...d5 Cedes the e5-square, but in return Black gets more control over e4 and kicks the knight from an active square. 14.Nd2 14.Ne5 White wants a piece not a pawn on e5, which makes the square unusable. 14...Nxe5 15.dxe5 Ne4. 14...Na5 We will look at this position in the second illustrative game. Armstrong, Malcolm (2119) Kovacevic, Blazimir (2443) Pula op 15th Pula (1), 18.05.2001

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bf4 Bg4 4.e3 e6 5.c3 Here we look at what happens when White absolutely refuses to be deterred. 5...Bd6 Black still plays this move to get active pieces and control of the center, the two most basic principles of chess. 6.Bg3 This approach gives Black no problems. 6...Nf6 This set-up should be familiar by now. Black decides not to capture the g3bishop right away, which is fine. 7.Bd3 In the London System the bishop goes here to participate in a possible attack against h7. 7...0-0 Before undertaking operations in the center Black gets safely castled. 8.Nbd2 The flaw in White's plan is that the bishop on g4 and the knight on c6 put a lot of pressure on the white center and White simply cannot go through with the idea of Ne5 and attack. Changing plans and getting in c4, as we will see in the next game, is a better idea. 8...e5 8...Bxg3 9.hxg3 e5 I like this sequence better, since it prevents the bishop from being kicked away by h3. White has nothing on the open h-file. 9.dxe5 White cannot let Black charge ahead with ...e4. 9...Nxe5 10.Be2 The pin is slightly uncomfortable for White. 10.Bxe5 White can choose to simplify further with this move. 10...Bxe5 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Nxf3 Bd6 This is simply even. Black will probably put a rook on e8 and a knight on e4. 10...Nxf3+ 11.Nxf3 Taking back with the bishop seemed a little better. Now Black has extremely easy play in the center. 11...Re8 12.0-0 Bxg3 Black decides to exchange and play for the center. 13.hxg3 c5 This move takes away the d4-square from knight, and opens a diagonal for the black queen and a file for the black rook. 14.Qc2 Qb6 15.Rfd1 Rad8 Black has only played very simple moves and already has an edge. 16.Rac1 g6 17.c4 White tries for counterplay, but Black is well-prepared. 17.Qb3 Qc7 17...Bf5 17...d4 is also possible. 18.exd4 cxd4 19.c5 Qa5 20.a3 Rd7 Black plans to double rooks on the d-file. White cannot take the d-pawn because of tactics.

21.Rxd4 (21.Nxd4 Rxd4 22.Rxd4 Rxe2) 21...Bxf3 22.Rxd7 Rxe2. 18.Bd3 Bxd3 19.Rxd3 dxc4 20.Rc3 20.Rxd8 Rxd8 21.Qxc4 Qxb2 22.Qxc5 Kg7 White has doubled g-pawns, which are harder to advance than Black's queenside majority. 20...Nd5 21.Rxc4 Nb4 22.Qb3 Qe6 White cannot play Rxc5 because of Nd3. 23.Ne1 White tries to get the knight in the game, but misses a tactic. 23...Nxa2! 24.Ra1 24.Qxa2 b5 and the rook is pinned. 24...Nb4 25.Rxb4 White doesn't see a way out and sacrifices. 25.Rxa7 does not work out well for White. 25...b5 26.Rc3 Qxb3 27.Rxb3 Rd1. 25...cxb4 26.Qxb4 Qe4 27.Qxe4 Rxe4 28.Nf3 Rb4 29.Rb1 a5 30.Nd4 a4 31. Kf1 Rd6 32.Ke2 Rdb6 0-1 A good example of the power of active pieces and open files. Claassen, Joerg (2235) Pirrot, Dieter (2400) 21st Bad Woerishofen op (3), 05.03.2005 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nc6 3.Bf4 Bg4 4.e3 e6 5.Be2 Bd6 6.Bxd6 cxd6 7.Nbd2 Nf6 8.0-0 0-0 9.c4 dxc4 10.Nxc4 Rc8 11.h3 Bh5 12.Nh4 Bxe2 13.Qxe2 d5 14. Nd2 Na5 Here is where we left off in the theory section. Black is well-placed for play on the queenside in this equal position. 15.Rfc1 Qb6 16.b3 The only good way to defend the pawn, though it leaves dark-square holes. 16...Rc6 The plan is to double rooks. 17.Rxc6 White is going to lose the file anyway, so exchanges right away. 17...Qxc6 18.b4 This is a double-edged move that gives White space while giving up the c4and a4-squares. 18.Nhf3 Rc8 19.Ne5 Qc2 looks very good for Black. 18...Qc3 18...Nc4 19.Rc1 Rc8 20.Nxc4 dxc4 Perhaps this is what White wanted, but the c-pawn looks strong, especially with ...a6 and ...b5 to back it up. 19.Rb1 Nc6 19...Nc4 is a more critical test. In the game White takes over the open files and equalizes. 20.Qd1 A devious trap. 20...Ne7 20...Nxb4 This is bad. 21.Rb3 Qc2 22.Qxc2 Nxc2 23.Rxb7. 20...Nd7?? 21.Rb3 Say goodbye to the queen! 21.Rc1 Qxb4 22.Rb1 Qa3 23.Rxb7

Now it is hard for Black to prove an edge. 23...Nc8 23...Rc8 I like to be active. 24.Qb3 Rc1+ 25.Kh2 Qd6+ 26.g3 Rc7. 24.Qb1 Nb6 25.Rc7 Ne8 26.Rc5 Nd6 27.Nhf3 This looks equal, since both side's are well-defended. 27...g6 27...f6 leaves less holes. 28.Qb3 Qa6 29.Ne5 Qe2 30.Ndf3 Nbc4 31.Nxc4 dxc4?! This is quite ambitious, but may be inaccurate. Black's problem is that White owns the open files. White should try for play in the center, since ...g6 was a weakening move. 32.Qb1 Kg7 33.a4 White really gets some good center squares and open lines with 33.d5!. Black would be in big trouble. 33...Rc8 34.Qa1? Rb8! Now Black gets the open b-file and the tide has turned in his favor. 35.Qf1 35.d5+ Rb2. 35...Qc2 36.Ne1 Qxa4 37.Qe2 Rb1 38.Kh2 Ne4 39.Rc7 Qa5 0-1 Even without the blunder White is almost lost, because Black is so active. An interesting back and forth game. Lessons Learned ? The Chigorin Defense is about active pieces and central play. The bishops are exchanged for knights, in order for Black to become active as soon as possible. ? After ...Bd6, if White takes the bishop, Black recaptures with the cpawn and has active play on the queenside. ? If White retreats the bishop from f4, Black has gained time and plays for the center. ? If White keeps the bishop on f4, Black captures it and goes after the f4pawn and the e4-square. Bibliography ? The Chigorin Defense According to Morozevich by Alexander Morozevich and Vladimir Barsky (New In Chess 2007). Written by an expert on the opening. I highly recommend it. Practitioners ? Mikhail Chigorin. The Russian player dominated chess in the latter half of the nineteenth century. He was a Romantic chess player and served as an inspiration to the Soviet School of Chess. ? Alexander Morozevich. The Russian grandmaster has many top-level games using the Chigorin. His style is very inventive and tactical; a good fit for the opening. ? Magnus Carlsen. I don't know if we will see more of the Chigorin from him in the future, but I hope so! ==== ====

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